Cartel Land is Traffic but for real. Documentarian Matthew Heineman’s prize-winning Sundance sensation is unlike anything else we’ll see this year, non-fiction filmmaking as visceral, edge-of-your-seat thriller utilizing the medium in ways seldom done before.
He finds corners and angles to Holmes other current portraits of the character haven’t discovered, and as impressive as Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Lee Miller have been, McKellen surpasses them with ease. I felt each beat of the journey, took every step, and by the time final decisions are made I was so caught up inside of the great detective’s headspace it was almost as if we were making them together in some sort of symbiotic tandem.
The best thing about David Thorpe’s documentary of self-exploration Do I Sound Gay? is the deeply personal realization it comes to. At the end of the day, what this rather slight film ends up being about is acceptance. Yet, not on a broad scale, but on a deeply personal one, instead. What Thorpe comes to realize is that, in the end, he can’t expect others to fully accept him, more to the point to love him, if he in turn cannot learn to accept himself.
That’s not hyperbole, either. Kidman nearly elevates this film to something essential almost entirely on her own. This is a magnetic, impossibly complex star turn that comes close to being one of the Oscar-winner’s best, and truly the only reason I’m talking about [Strangerland] at all is entirely thanks to her.
Anchored by a stupendous, marvelously intricate performance from its star, [Gemma Bovery] is a sprightly, introspectively fearless wonder that goes to some pretty dark places yet does so with a somewhat surprising amount of levity. It’s an odd amalgamation of comedy, drama and tragedy all melded into one gleefully anarchic whole, and as such it’s a joy to watch opening frame to last.
“With kids, what’s the first language they speak? Well, that’s emotion…Even if they don’t understand the specifics of what is being talked about, if they see a character is upset or fearful or happy, they respond to that.”
The Australian import The Little Death is a suburban sex comedy that’s too tame to make much of an impact yet also just icky enough at times to border on repugnance…[It’s] prone to introducing a clever gag only to beat it into the ground until it’s no longer of value, oftentimes forgetting less is more especially as it pertains to eliciting laughter from the audience.
What’s interesting is that, as crazy as that destination might be, as thought-provoking as elements might become, it’s the stuff that happens long before the denouement that gives this Sundance and Seattle International Film Festival favorite its memorable staying power.
Relative newcomer Moore is outstanding. He’s the one that keeps the movie on track, never allowing it to drift too far into absurdity or sentimentality, anchoring the proceedings with a complex, potently effective portrait of youth in revolt.